“Joyce Carol Oates,
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?”
Be Daring—Joyce Carol Oates
“Be daring, take on anything. Don’t labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind.”
Keep it Honest, Read and Write—Madeleine L’Engle
“I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.”
Learn to Trust Your Own Judgment—Doris Lessing
“Advice to young writers? Always the same advice: learn to trust our own judgment, learn inner independence, learn to trust that time will sort the good from the bad – including your own bad.”
Develop a Thick Hide—Harper Lee
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
Write Every Day—Annie Dillard
“A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. . . it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, ‘Simba!’”
Don’t Try to be Perfect—Margaret Atwood
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”
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